Punish, Since We Can’t Save


Disclaimer: Read the entire first paragraph and not just first two lines before hating me.

You can hate me for saying this but, from my experience, I believe that any state with more than 1 rape/molestation case registered in a week needs to ban alcohol with immediate effect. I am not saying that such horrendous acts happen only because of the influence of alcohol. No, I would never say that. What I am trying to say is, banning alcohol is not a preemptive measure, but it is a punishment for people for not making a state be a better place, it is punishment for all parents for not making their kids a good person, it is a punishment for all youngsters for not making their friends be a good person, it is a punishment for all of you who are not a good person.

How can we talk about freedom to drink when there is no freedom to safety? There needs to law and order before there is any freedom. Freedom comes once we establish a structure. It can not go the other way round. As for the parallel economy or black money that will come into this equation because of such a practice of banning alcohol, please explain me how much good has our government done any way with all the money that we give them as taxes, that money is stashed in Swiss accounts. I’d rather have a small parallel economy running than see a girl with such injuries. I’d rather see youngsters complaining for lack of freedom than see a life ruined. I’d rather have people drinking sneakily and illegally at their homes than see them out in the open and making scenes. I’d rather see every one (girl or a boy) complaining and suffering from injustice of not being allowed to drink in public than see guys having the right to move around at night and girls being held captives in the comforts of their own homes after dark. I’d rather have everyone not being allowed to live their life to the fullest than see some people succumbing to injuries and losing their lives.

For me, rape, molestation, eve-teasing etc are the worst crimes of all. They are worse than assassin, murder, riots, forgery, extortion, robbery, embezzlement and even genocide. I don’t think I’d be very wrong if I say there is at least one rape every half an hour. Rapes disgust me the most because, more often than not, the victim here is not planned before hand.  Just because I guy is horny, any girl who comes in his way, gets to suffer. This attitude depicts the way people in the country are, it shows how nobody cared for law, it shows how less concerned are we for our women, it shows how less a life means to us.

I am not trying to victimize alcohol for the acts some stupid people do. There is very fine line between blaming alcohol for such acts and banning it as a punishment for not making the society our society law-abiding and civilized. You might ask that if it is such a fine line, how come alcohol came into a picture of rapes and molestation, it did because I live in a state which is extremely safe and which has alcohol forbidden. I have lived here for more than two decades and take my word for it, I have NEVER felt unsafe, not for a SECOND. May be it is just the culture of the city and it has got nothing to do with alcohol after all, but I would want to see this culture in the entire country. It hurts me that administrative capital of my country is also the rape capital.

May be you will find faults in what I say, but why don’t you try to find a better solution instead? While you do, we can experiment with banning alcohol in the state. While I know my voice is not going to reach the ears of the likes of Sheila Dixit, I rejoice in the fact that I live in a city where I am safe. My dear Delhi counterparts, I feel sorry for you. All my sympathies with you, may God save you from other humans around you!

A small act that women should do when their state is going through election process. Go to all the polls and put up a poster saying, “Decrease crimes against women and I might vote for you next time”. It is a small act. I am not sure if it will work or not but it is, I guess, worth a try.

P.S.

1. If you find a fault in my plan, I’m sure we can improvise. Don’t bother telling me it won’t work without giving proper reasons.

2. Just to reiterate, I am NOT saying that only drunkards rape, I am not even averse to the fact that alcohol might have nothing to do with rapes. All I have suggested is just a punishment for entire society and thereby kindling a hope of improvement.

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8 thoughts on “Punish, Since We Can’t Save

  1. Hey, I am sorry for this rather long comment. You may even yawn or fall asleep while going through it :), but I thank you for raising this sensitive issue!

    In one of your posts, you stated that asserting oneself seems to be a common characteristic of many people on the internet, and I find it extremely true (myself afflicted with such a tendency too!). Another idiosyncrasy I have finally figured about myself is that I try to figure out points where I disagree with authors and then embark on a long sequence of rants. So, the ranting and (self-)assertiveness have led to this comment (but remember, I am not ridiculing the post at all). Here I go:

    Not meaning to be peremptory in expression, I wish to say that I agree with your premise but not the conclusion. The crime is rape/sexual harassment and you want to punish people by confiscating drinking rights. To me, the punishment for the given crime is a bit farfetched. The primary aim of punishment is deterrence. However, non-pertinent punishment will simply not just defeat the point of punishment (deterrence), but may also give rise to newer problems.

    The prime question you are raising through your post, I believe, is – “for an abominable crime like rape, what is the punishment that should be meted out to the perpetrator?” The next concern that you are raising is that if such crimes become rampant, then a large chunk of the society is at fault. While I agree with the validity of these ideas/questions, I fear I don’t agree with the conclusion that the whole society be punished by not letting anyone have a drink. The reason is that I feel it is highly unlikely that banning drinks will at all lead to any conspicuous decrease in the rate of rape crimes. Nor have statistics revealed that rape crimes are committed after the offenders take substantial quantities of alcohol before the crime. So, I have got quite some ground to believe that banning alcohol will have more or less have no effect on the occurrence of these crimes (as you have also admitted in the post). In fact, why be partial against alcohol, we could ban a lot of things for example internet, cigarretes etc. 🙂 Therefore, I wouldn’t give a heads up to this solution.

    Now, the new upshots of your solution: You have to see that no state is a dry state in India, whether liquor is banned or not (including Gujarat)! This means that once alcohol is banned, the parallel black (illegal) business of liquor will thrive even more and the government will only lose on the revenue it might have otherwise obtained. I am not justifying this illicit transaction, but unfortunately with the current law and order situation, its hard to imagine that its not going to happen!

    To me, ‘cultured drinking’ was never a problem and therefore, I would never be up for banning alcohol unless there is a good amount of reason for doing the same. While admittedly there are several other problems associated with drinking in India, and if they do become a serious menace to the well-being of the society, there is nothing wrong in considering banning alcohol – but rape crimes certainly wouldn’t qualify to be a reason on which such a judgment could be adjudicated. In fact, for now, I agree with what you said in one of your earlier posts that people should be allowed to have drinks/cigarettes and if they go awry, the law can take care of that!

    Now for the solution, I completely agree with what @hituwrites has said. We need to have strict laws, but they are only for the anomalous elements of the society. They should be meted out to the perpetrators and with no exemption, no matter who the person! We could possibly elevate the punishment to capital punsihment – after all, the crime is so obnoxious that most of the times the victim ends up committing suicide and is hence tantamount to a slow, painful, tormenting murder, traumatising and agonisng the victim to the highest degree through the entire episode. We could even consider the solution you raised for the poll as well (bobbitization! thanks! that adds something to my vocab.!). There should be many more fast track courts so that conviction is assured in quick time because “justice delayed is justice denied”! The society should back the victims in identifying the evil-doers. Let all the victims come to the fore and register their voices (as happens in the Westen countries and therefore on paper, rape crimes are seemingly more prominent there!). And the key idea is that whatever the punitive measure, it has to be implemented. I am sure you are aware that implementation in India has been the poorest of sorts. At times, dozens of PILs, scores of complaints, even media coverage fail to get a law enforced in pratice. You would also perhaps know that since 1990 the occurrence of rape has doubled and even worse, the conviction rate has dropped from 41% to 26.6%. Add to that the number of cases that go unreported. I am sure that if all such cases come to the fore India would clinch the top spot of housing the maximum number of rapists!

    But the biggest thing here is that the mindset of the society as a whole has to change. A society can’t be progressive if it doesn’t respect its women members. Men should learn to respect women, and the anomalous ones should be punished and/or ostracised. Law is usually for the few anomalous elements who go berserk at times, but if the whole society becomes an anomaly, any law would become meaningless (imagine a handful of sane upright people toiling to get the a perverted majority punished/corrected! won’t generally work!) Unfortunately, the irony of the situation is that after the crime the Indian society outcastes the victim and embraces the wrong-doer (with a tinge of sympathy for the wrong-doer, as if the victim were at fault!). Its a taboo for the victim to be vocal about revealing what atrocities were committed by the rapists. If someone manages to do that, the whole neighborhood and the city looks upon the victim as tainted and stigmatised by a disgrace that could never be obliterated. But now the shocker – nothing like that for the rapist! In short, after the crime is done, the Indian society victimises the victim leaving nothing but the option of self-immolation or suicide by other means – and more than anything, I believe this has to change. I agree thoroughly with the last paragraph of your post as well.

    So, I’d say – “let the society go through some introspection and reform its mindset. Men should start respecting the human rights of women and put a restraint on their horniness. And let law take the course for the perpetrator (but the current law needs to get reformed and the crime should at least be equated with murder so that maximum possible punishment be meted out to promote deterrence!).”

    • I understand the need to write long posts but I’d like to keep my points concise 🙂
      1. I never blamed alcohol for the crimes. As you mentioned in your posts, it is JUST a punishment for the entire society for being tolerable to crimes which are not tolerable. Ending part of the second paragraph of my post clearly says that. As to why Alcohol and not cigarettes etc, check out the Crime Stats of India (I checked 2009), 5 states & UT with alcohol prohibition are ranked in the later half when it comes to Crimes Against Women.
      2. I understand that new problems might arise due to alcohol ban. In my second paragraph, I have mentioned that. Yes, I’d rather have a parallel economy than have so many rape cases.
      3. No, I am not raising the point that what should be the punishment for crimes like rapes. Punishments mentioned in our law (less than 7 years for public servants & more for normal people) are good enough. My problem has been administration. I proposed the solution for the same. So we’ll have to agree to disagree on the point that I believe the entire society needs to be punished while you believe only criminals should be, And this, my dear, is the point of my post.
      4. I never said ban everywhere. In the FIRST line of my post I have mentioned that this solution is only for some specific states of India. Cultured drinking is not a problem for anyone. But will you call the states aforementioned “cultured”? If so, again, let us agree to disagree.
      5. My earlier post about freedom, wherein I mentioned people should be allowed to choose to drink & smoke, clears that I am not against them. Only where the states aren’t able to take care of themselves, this solution should be needed.
      6. As you said, “biggest problem is the mindset”. If this is implemented, people will blame the criminal cos of whom they all will serve the punishment of alcohol blamed, That might change society. As for “few sane people toiling perverted public”, I think it will work.

      • I think my points got lost in the long-drawn reply. Again, I don’t know how long its going to be. So I request you to bear with me! I’ll raise my objections (or submissions) and then a few suggestions pointwise (which I have gathered from discussion with friends, other people or TV news debates and newspaper articles):

        Objections and Submissions!:

        1. It took me a long time to understand your point (so much for it! I must be a real dumbo!). I see your idea now. It may work. But I guess there are better ways to deal with this situation so that people can sensitised.

        2. I am not sure if I should buy a new problem for sure, while the success of the move is still uncertain. Moreover, if the black business of liquor thrives a lot, then I am not sure that the idea would work.

        3. I apologise for misunderstanding. I agree administration has been a mess. But I disagree with your contention that the current minimal punishment is enough and that the whole society should be punished for egregious errors on the part of authorities. I’ll elaborate in the section on solutions.

        4. I referred to “cultured drinking”, and not just “culture”. According to me, if after drinking you go on to commit rape, or an offence like ramming into a poor folk, or domestic violence or some other heinous crime, that would qualify as “uncultured” drinking. I don’t think that these rapes were committing by the offenders after consuming volumes of alcohol. Ergo, I don’t see the force in your objection.( And yeah, “cultured” is a big deal. To gauge that, I would use several parameters such as incidence of murders, incidence of rapes, incidence of honor killings, drug-dealing (ruining the youth), domestic violence, foeticide, genocide, marital rape, eveteasing, communalism etc. and then most states/places in India will fail to be cultured.)

        5. I agree.

        6. You are aware of the pros and cons of your move. So, I don’t have to say anything.

        Suggestions:

        1. Social Mindset: When it comes to crime against women, rape should not be viewed in isolation from other atrocities. It is a heinous crime for sure, which traumatises and agonises the victim, mostly leaving no option except that of self-immolation. But one has to get to the root of the social problem. A large number of rape cases in India indicate what men in India think of their fellow countrywomen. Indian history stands witness to the fact that women have been oppressed all along. It is only in the recent years that women in the metros and big cities have successfully tried to break free. But that’s a very small fraction. Most of them are still bullied, browbeaten, oppressed and repressed. Indian men choose to think of women as a commodity useful merely for sexual gratification. They believe it is their birth-right to use any woman they like in any manner and throw her when she is not needed. To add to the misfortune, Indian society hates the victim of sexual assaults, even outcastes them! What is the result? A plethora of crimes, most of which go unreported :- rape, marital rape, female infanticide, domestic violence, dowry, eveteasing, outraging modesty etc. This is a really alarming state for all of us, and quick and effective steps are needed to contain the situation. Rape by itself stands out, but what I am talking about is the social mindset. In India, quite a few times it is seen that women themselves are apathetic to women, at times are forced and at times willingly go on to kill a female foetus on their own, are often indifferent to the trauma of other rape victims. What better can be expected of men? The Indian society hates rape. But it also hates rape victims. There starts the the biggest sociological problem. I mean virginity is so important in India that if you “lose” it before marrying, you are doomed, you are just sinister, and you are detestable! In most cases, the Indian society gives a warmer reception to the offender than the victim. Now consider an atrocity towards women in general: You see how rattling it psychologically is. You can’t leave your husband if he beats you because he is your lord and you become an infidel if you leave him. If he torments you, it is his right. If you are a rape victim, the worst possible thing happens – social ostracisation!

        The people in cities are increasingly becoming aware. This should be contagious and should pervade to a major chunk of the population. But people should become sympathetic (or “nomal”) to women who have been sexually abused instead of outcasting them or treating them as a bad omen. Parents (or men) should look at the qualities of women before marrying and not outcaste women who have fallen prey to some insane satyromaniac pervert.

        In quite a few Western countries too (France, US, UK) instances of rape are very high. The reason is that crime gets reported. There, if a woman fights crime, she is considered brave and not an infidel or a bad-omen. The society has to reform itself quickly, or women will continue to get raped and abused in several ways and the crime will never get disclosed because of the sociological implications.

        Next, how to curb this through policies and law-enforcing agencies:

        2. Effective policing: In Delhi 55% police is up the ass of politicians and the so-called VIPs. It turns out that 32% police is effectively on duty at any given moment. What use is police if it can’t prevent crimes? It is certainly not there for escorting the so-called public servants all the time, for pulling chairs or opening doors (so that they don’t get “troubled”), and especially when the society is in distress. Except the important dignatries, why should most of these dolts be provided so much of security? Get the police on duty, and take preventive measures to reduce instances of rape, sexual harassment, eveteasing etc. Identify the spots where women have reported trouble. Install CCTV cameras in these places. Try to patrol these areas. Heed to the complaints of women about molestation. Identify the suspects. And please don’t collude!

        3. Stringent laws: No exemption. Set a precedent with this case. This case has caught the eyes of public. Why? Only because the offenders managed to pull the intestines out on this occasion? There is a rape every 22 minutes in Delhi. Women of almost all age-groups have been abused. The minimum has been as low as 0.5 years http://www.rediff.com/news/report/delhis-shame-six-month-old-five-year-old-raped/20110610.htm and as high as 75! http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-03-14/india/31164554_1_sirsa-death-sentence-cold-blooded-murder

        As many as 6 MPs who are guilty of rapes are there in Parliament. aapkikhabar.org No action against them. No action against Salman Khurshid who managed to plunder the handicapped! No action against Salman Khan who rammed into a bakery. That case has seen 82 hearings and Salman ain’t there in any of them! Similar dealing with the poaching issue! So, why has this case gotten due respect from the ones in power? Precisely because the perpetrators are low profile people with no economic, social or political clout. A law without implementation is meaningless and that’s the case with India in all spheres of crime. All people with clout go scot-free. The slow nature of ju*icial proceedings in India is not just an unfortunate reality, but also a very desirable one for a particular class! (it helps, you see!) The crippling of CBI (and yes! the ex-CBI director, U. S. Mishra has admitted that! http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-12-14/india/35819347_1_cbi-director-ashwani-kumar-congress-bureau) and CIC are just a few manifestations of this “implementation”. The various avatars of this mess are just too many for me to expound here. But I am sure, you would know. That’s where the implementation and administration has been a mess and I fully agree with you.

        But incidents of this kind leave me aghast! Such apathy from a women to another women!: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-06-22/india/32367604_1_pardons-mercy-petitions-molai-ram

        4. Deterrence: I believe minimum 7 years of punishment is just not working. This is where the issue is debatable. If the victim usually commits suicide after the incident, I personally believe that the criminals should be hanged. But some exemplary punishment should be meted out. Castrate them, give life imprisonment, something deterring and set a precedent. There is, however, a danger of slippery slope as pointed out by Justice K.G. Balakrishnan. You might be aware of it already: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/nhrc-chief-wary-of-death-penalty-for-rape-demand/1047740/0 So, it is still debatable (for me)! But it should be stricter than the current punishment.

        But give it only once the charges are clear and there is clear-cut evidence. There is quite some fear that if a “big guy” is involved, the police might just get hold of a poor guy, beat the hell out of him to accept that he was guilty or pay him quite some money to end his family’s sufferings while he agrees to go to the gallows! This is a classic way of restoring the faith of people in governance and administration by doing injustice to a handful of innocent individuals. (That’s a caveat, and a very important one because India is full of crooks.)

        5. Sensitising the society 1: Name and shame the offender, his family, his school, college or if he is affiliated to a private organisation, shame that too. (Kiran Bedi’s suggestion which I subscribe to. Is a way of social ostracisation of offenders and I would say superior to banning alcohol in sensitising the public, because if black business thrives, then banning alcohol (selectively) is likely to fail.)

        6. Sensitising the society 2: Run awareness programmes to make people become aware of their rights. The Indian politicians have cashed for a long time on the fact that people are usually unaware of their rights. This is a general problem and it has to be tackled. Now, when India is seeing a renaissance through RTI activism, many of them are being assigned a 7ft X 2ft land in different graveyards in the country. The point being – If India as a whole can’t rise, this menace will always be impossible to curb.

        7. Sensitising the society 3: People clearly proven guilty of rapes, murders and other heinous crimes shouldn’t be allowed to contest elections. They have no right to become a representative if they can stoop to such inhuman levels and go for a gross violation of the most basic human rights. (murder except when done in self-defence) If lesser criminals enter the Parliament, the credibility of our Parliament will increase (already 162 criminals in there!).

        8. Legal Remedy – Fast track courts: Need fast track courts. But fast track courts don’t mean much unless the probe is time bound. Fast track merely implies that the case will be given a hearing daily.
        That’s all! And that where the Indian system is famous for failing! There have been many famous cases where cases heard on daily basis continued for years. Just to give an example, look at LN Mishra case for which the decision came out in August this year. After how many years? A whopping 35 years! And this case was worse because the case was heard on a daily basis for the last 17 years! The SC observed “Our judicial system has made life tough for innocent people and easy for criminals!” http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-08-17/india/33248854_1_legal-system-murder-case-ck-prasad

        So, the additional requirement is that the probe be time-bound. Remember “Justice delayed is justice denied!”

        9. Political will: I am sorry to say that the current measures announced by the government are pure farce. The anger which this incident has evoked is being met with a solution that is merely an eyewash. No! sorry! – switching on light in a bus, removing tinted glasses…Doesn’t compute to anything! The issue of rapes is marked by a clear political apathy for the victims for which you can blame the leaders (or ultimately the people, even though it may not be fully justified). The way politics is done in the country is just disgusting! They have criminalised politics and crippled the executive and I dare say the third pillar too (in many cases)! This has trickled all the way to the bottom. The legal and administrative resolution is intimately linked to this and till politicians purge this self-serving attitude, which has resulted in the current mess, a legal solution is not in sight. Till that is achieved, the treatment of this problem will remain incomplete.

        There, I rest my case!

        The ranting stops. But I’ll end on a pessimistic note: Because nothing of this sort will be done – the society is not going to not ostracise rape victims (in the full sense). The political will is missing. The legal solution is not in sight. The administrative reforms are out of picture. The law enforcing agencies are completely apathetic. Ultimately, puppet woman Presi*ent pardons horrendous rape crimes… Rapes will continue unabated! :/

        • Hey! I am always up for a meaningful discussion. So, here:
          Objections and Submissions!:
          1. 🙂
          2. Nothing can be worse than the present. At the most, an ad-hoc uprising might happen which will lead to a setting worse than this, but it will be transitory and the future will be bright. So I stand by the fact that I’ll rather have parallel economy than be in our current situation.
          3. Punishment is extremely debatable. I have a conviction that if the punishment is 2 years, more cases will reach their fate than if the punishment is 10 years. Higher the stakes, higher will be the effort by the convict to avoid any statement and hence the lengthy hearings and low rates of execution (just as you added in your caveat, innocents might take the blame of wrong-doings of the nefarious ones. I’d say we should focus on catching the fugitives first then worry about the length of punishment). I am afraid I do not have statistics to back-up my hunch but my issue remains, most criminals are never caught!
          4. Check my blog again, I have added a post-script (No 2)
          5, 6 🙂

          Suggestions:
          1. True. Gist of it: change the society, hence this post 🙂
          2. A very good suggestion. Unfortunately, it is up to the whim of those who head the system to initiate it.
          3, 4. Aforementioned point number 3.
          5,6,7: *Thumbs-up*
          8,9. These are few of the reasons why Indian youth is ashamed of our system.

          P.S. Thank you for all the suggestions, I might be soon writing another blog-post for which your research will come handy 🙂

          • Hey, sorry! I had been travelling all this while (busy with work too) and didn’t get time to check your replies.

            1, 2: Right. We can probably give it a shot! No great calamity will befall the society if liquor is banned. If something good can come out of it, it will only be a welcome change! If it doesn’t work we can consider lifting the ban.
            Of course, some more steps will also be needed to contain this menace.

            3: Agree! Requires more research before we decide what the minimum punishment should be. Minimum punishment is debatable for sure.

            But personally, I feel that in this particular case the offenders must be stoned and then lynched, or their limbs should be cut off for the rest of their lives so that they die a slow, painful death.

            4: Lol, I am not this big a dumbo 😉 I understood your point very well by the time I started my previous reply :). My contention was that “cultured” (in your first reply) shouldn’t be confused with “cultured drinking” (in my first comment). But there is no big deal. We can easily ignore this semantics issue!

            Data regarding rapist MLA-MPs:

            P.S. – Oh nice! Good to hear that it could be of some use!

  2. I would like to tell two things.
    1) Whatever punishment be declared, is worthless without proper implementation.
    2) “Desire/want/need” is the thing which makes a person do anything. So, it must be start from within . mere ban on something can do nothing. It may be hurdle but not the wall. Self Care is the only tool which u can use for punishing those stupid peoples.

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